USPS Cuts Saturdays, APWU Blames Congressionally-Manufactured Financial Crisis

Today, USPS cuts to Saturday delivery were announced — and Americans learned that in just six months, nearly all weekend delivery of mail will end.

The USPS cuts to Saturday delivery were defended both in a news conference and a statement by Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe, who explained that the “American public understands the financial challenges of the Postal Service and supports these steps as a responsible and reasonable approach to improving [its] financial situation,” adding that “the Postal Service has a responsibility to take the steps necessary to return to long-term financial stability and ensure the continued affordability of the US Mail.”

As expected, the massive slash to Saturday delivery by the USPS was not well received by the American Postal Workers Union, who lambasted the decision in a response posted to their website today.

In the post addressing USPS cuts to Saturday delivery, the APWU placed the blame squarely upon a 2006 law that “created the Postal Service’s financial crisis,” the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA.) Under the oppressive terms of the PAEA, the APWU explains, pre-funding pensions and not decreased mail volume has impacted the USPS’s bottom line and ability to remain profitable.

The statement from the APWU on USPS cuts to Saturday delivery begins:

“The APWU condemns the Postal Service’s decision to eliminate Saturday mail delivery, which will only deepen the agency’s congressionally-manufactured financial crisis … The USPS has already begun slashing mail service by closing 13,000 post offices or drastically reducing hours of operation, shutting hundreds of mail processing facilities, and downgrading standards for mail delivery to America’s homes and businesses. The effects are being felt in cities and towns across the country.”

The statement continues, citing a secondary goal of privatization inherent in the PAEA as at the heart of the USPS’s financial woes:

“USPS executives cannot save the Postal Service by tearing it apart. These across-the-board cutbacks will weaken the nation’s mail system and put it on a path to privatization … Congress has the power to restore the USPS to financial stability. To do so, it must repeal provisions of the 2006 law that created the Postal Service’s financial crisis.”

The APWU explains:

“The agency’s crisis is a direct result of an unsustainable congressional mandate that was imposed on the Postal Service by the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA). The federal law forces the Postal Service to pre-fund healthcare benefits for future retirees and to do so in a 10-year period. No other entity — public or private — bears this burden. Since the PAEA took effect in 2007, the Postal Service has been required to pre-pay approximately $5.5 billion per year. Yet the same law prohibits the Postal Service from raising postage rates to cover the cost.”

The statement on USPS cuts to Saturday delivery concludes:

“The USPS has a vital mission — to bind the nation together by providing efficient, inexpensive service to every part of the country. The Postal Service should be seeking ways to expand its offerings to the American people so that it can remain relevant in the digital age.”

Do you think Congress should ease up on the Postal Service to prevent further harsh measures like USPS cuts to Saturday delivery?

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